President Biden has approved a shake-up of the leadership of his campaign, and will dispatch two top White House aides to take over functional control of his re-election effort just as former President Donald J. Trump appears to be seizing control of the Republican primary contest to oppose him.
Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, who was the campaign manager for Mr. Biden’s 2020 campaign and has served as a deputy chief of staff in the White House since he became president, will move to the Biden 2024 headquarters in Wilmington, Del., and direct the campaign’s efforts, according to five people familiar with the discussions.
Mike Donilon, a senior adviser who has worked for Mr. Biden for decades, will also move to Wilmington and become the campaign’s chief strategist.
“I’m thankful to Mike and Jen both for their service in the White House these last three years, and I am grateful that in rejoining the campaign, they are stepping up one more time to ensure we finish the job for the American people,” Mr. Biden said in a statement released by the White House after The New York Times reported Ms. O’Malley Dillon’s imminent departure.
Julie Chávez Rodríguez, the campaign’s manager since shortly after it began in April, is expected to retain that title.
The moves formalize a setup in which Ms. O’Malley Dillon has for months overseen the campaign’s direction from Washington and Mr. Donilon has helped shape its strategy.
When the Biden campaign held a December retreat for staff members at its headquarters, it was Ms. O’Malley Dillon who led the proceedings — not Ms. Chávez Rodríguez, according to two people who attended the session but were not authorized to speak publicly about it.
Donors, operatives, elected officials and other Democrats supportive of Mr. Biden have been increasingly worried about a campaign structure that had major and even minor decisions being made by White House aides and carried out by campaign personnel in Delaware.
In recent months, former President Barack Obama met with Mr. Biden at the White House and raised concerns about the bifurcated arrangement, according to an account of their discussion reported by The Washington Post.
The leadership change comes as the campaign is set to shift into a general-election posture and a more aggressive effort to contrast Mr. Biden with Mr. Trump, who won Iowa’s caucuses last week and the New Hampshire primary election on Tuesday against Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who is his last major Republican rival.
Lisa Lerer contributed reporting from Manchester, N.H., and Katie Rogers from Washington.